Selling merchandise is an incredibly profitable source of income for studios that invest in big-budget blockbuster movies. Every time a superhero film comes out, it is expected to not only harvest a formidable return on investment at the box office, but also make money in all sorts of different ways, including the sale of apparel, home goods, and most of all - toys.
In order for toys to reach worldwide stores by the time a movie comes out, studios have to negotiate the designs of those products very far in advance to accommodate for the time-consuming practice of mass production. Essentially, this means that toy companies – such as Lego, Mattel, Hasbro, and Namco – tend to usually be the first ones to know about major plot-points of upcoming superhero flicks.
Unlike Hollywood studios, toy companies have historically failed at keeping their merchandise a secret until the accompanying film is released, which has earned Lego and other toy manufacturers a reputation for having extremely spoilery products for superhero movie fans. If you enjoy Marvel, DC Comics, and Disney movies, odds are that you shouldn’t be paying close attention to new toy releases before you go to the theater.
Spoiler alert! These are 8 Times Legos Spoiled A Superhero Movie (And 7 Times Toys Did).
Lego made it very clear in its “The Flying Fox: Batmobile Airlift Attack” set that Superman, who had died in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, would return to the DC Extended Universe during Justice League - just in time for the movie’s final battle scene. Though this was arguably one of Hollywood’s worst-kept secrets, DC Comics and Warner Bros. did their best to conceal from general audiences the inevitable return of Superman to the franchise.
The very same Lego set also confirmed the longstanding rumor that Steppenwolf would be a main villain in the Justice League film, and that a huge Batmobile Airlift would be Batman’s weapon to fight against the villain. This is definitely a major spoiler concerning a major scene in a major blockbuster superhero film in 2017.
During the events of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film, Deadpool (known as Weapon XI) was “activated” by Stryker to fight against Wolverine. A significant and shocking plot-point in the movie was that Deadpool becomes unable to speak, which came as no surprise to anyone who stumbled upon an action figure of this X-Men Origins version of the character that showcased him with what was clearly a very sealed mouth.
Fans of Deadpool believe that his cameo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a disservice to the character, which is certainly why 2016’s Deadpool chose to completely disregard that storyline in its continuity.
While it was revealed during an Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer that the Hulk would be fighting off Tony Stark’s “Hulkbuster” Iron Man suit, there was one looming question fans couldn’t figure out: why exactly are they fighting one another?
Well, a Lego set named “The Hulk Buster Smash” cleared that one up. The set featured Scarlet Witch positioned just above the Hulk (who was smashing things), fighting against the Hulkbuster. Any fan with knowledge of Scarlet Witch’s abilities was able to figure out exactly how the Hulk was compelled to destroy a city and fight against his own team.
The Age of Ultron scene containing this Hulk vs. Iron Man battle was supposed to be one of the film’s highlights, but it turned out to be a predictable plot-point after the movie’s marketing and merchandise gave so much information away.
The biggest changes regarding Lex Luthor for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were that the character had hair on his head and was made to act like a modern-times Silicon Valley entrepreneur. While the latter was able to fit right in with what audiences expected of Lex, many fans complained about the character having hair, which turned out to be one of the film’s plot points. By the end of Batman v Superman, Lex was bald and imprisoned, which is a more familiar take on the character.
But what was supposed to be a big reveal for fans to relish in failed to surprise anyone. A Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice-related action figure of a bald and imprisoned Lex Luthor had already been released, giving away the character’s final moments in the film.
“The Ultimate Battle for Asgard” Lego set gave away the final scene in Thor: Ragnarok, including that Fenrir would be present and that Bruce Banner would initially fight in his non-Hulk form.
While Fenrir’s inclusion in Thor: Ragnarok was expected, little about it had been confirmed at the time, and fans were unsure where the character would be placed. This particular Lego set made it clear that Fenrir would be in the movie and would be fighting alongside Hela in the final battle for Asgard. It was also interesting that the set included a non-Hulk Bruce Banner during a fighting scene, which hinted at the fact that Banner was scared of “Hulking out” during that particular moment in the film.
At least the Lego set avoided giving away that Thor would lose an eye during Ragnarok by covering the eyes of Lego Thor with an oversized helmet.
As the Wonder Woman runtime went on, it became safe to assume that the film was probably not going to address the legend of Ares in the way that it had been expected by fans, and that Diana’s understanding of “evil” was broader than simply defeating the so-called “God of War.” As no actor had been cast for the role, either, the argument that this villain wouldn’t be included in the movie gained even more strength.
However, Lego did what Lego does, when in a Wonder Woman-related set, the toy company revealed that Ares would indeed be included in the film and would definitely fight against Diana. The question then became how exactly Ares would show up, but his reveal was, for the most part, spoiled.
Sometimes, it feels like the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a hard time learning a lesson in regards to its massive marketing strategies. Just like in the case of Avengers: Age of Ultron / Hulkbuster, the inclusion of Giant Man (an oversized version of Ant-Man) in Captain America: Civil War was supposed to be a fan-favorite surprise moment in the film. But while footage of Giant Man was concealed from every single marketing material until the movie’s release, toy companies weren’t as careful with their products, and recklessly spoiled this plot-point for fans around the world.
An entire Build A Figure toy, released before Captain America: Civil War, was dedicated to Giant Man. The company could’ve marketed the action figure as Ant-Man, but instead, literally labeled the product as Giant Man, leaving no doubt behind.
The age-old question of how Batman could possibly fight against Superman was brought up again as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was announced.While many believed that the film would find a new way for Batman to match up to Superman, the DC Extended Universe decided to take the more traditional approach: giving Batman some Kryptonite-based weapons.
In this “Clash of the Heroes” Lego set, Batman is clearly seen shooting Kryptonite bullets from a rooftop towards Superman’s direction. While it comes as no surprise that Kryptonite was the way Batman found to match up to Superman, it’s still a shame that this plot-point was spoiled, as the fight between the two heroes was arguably the climax of the entire film. From then on, it also became evident that Batman had a huge chance of winning.
As Hela was announced as the main villain in Thor: Ragnarok (and Cate Blanchett took on the role), many assumed that the early plans of including Surtur in the movie had been scrapped by the MCU. However, as a GameStop-exclusive Funko Pop! toy was released to accompany the release of Ragnarok, it became obvious that Surtur was indeed still going to be in the movie.
Thor: Ragnarok opens and closes with Surtur, as the villain is twice fooled by Thor and ultimately allows the hero to escape a particularly dangerous situation. Though Surtur eventually does bring Ragnarok to Asgard and fulfills his wishes, it only happens because it is allowed by Thor, who is trying to win the battle against Hela and save Asgardians from imprisonment.
Another small but significant Avengers: Age of Ultron plot-point spoiled by Lego was the capture and rescue of Vision. In “The Avengers Quinjet City Chase” set, Vision is clearly seen being rescued from a van by a plane flown by Black Widow and a motorcycle driven by Captain America. Standing by the side of the van is Ultron, also making it clear who had captured Vision in the first place.
The inclusion of Vision in Age of Ultron was a poorly kept secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe seemed to insist on denying, even if everyone already knew that the character would be in the film. While this Lego set spoiled the character’s inclusion, the company actually just revealed what would happen to Vision, but can’t be blamed for the general awareness that this hero would join the MCU.
Of course, Lego also spoiled the inclusion of Giant Man in Captain America: Civil War, even going as far as revealing the scene in which Ant-Man would assume his oversized form.
The Civil War airport fight scene is now hailed as one of the most memorable and exciting moments in the entire MCU, and it’s a shame that one of its biggest reveals (Ant-Man becoming Giant Man) was spoiled by toy manufacturers. The other significant plot point of the scene was the introduction of Spider-Man to the franchise, but that detail had already been revealed the movie’s trailers.
The Lego set could’ve included the other superheroes who were present in the airport fighting scene instead of Giant Man, saving the big reveal for when the film came out. However, Lego chose to ignore Spider-Man, Black Panther, and others, instead revealing Giant Man, which spoiled what was meant to be a surprise.
It was supposed to be a surprise in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra that The Doctor character was actually Rex Lewis, but that plot twist was ruined by an action figure literally called “Rex ‘The Doctor’ Lewis” that accompanied the film.
Rex Lewis was portrayed by Joseph Gordon Levitt in the Rise of Cobra sequel, and was only supposed to be revealed as The Doctor during the movie, but that all failed due to spoilery merchandise. A few years later, however, the actor would experience another superhero-related movie reveal – one that actually surprised some movie-goers – during 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. In it, Levitt played a character named John Blake, who was later revealed to be Robin.
Though G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was considered a critical failure, the franchise went on to produce a second installment, 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
No one could escape the “Which Witch Is Which?” marketing campaign that Disney developed to capitalize on the mysterious identity of the Wicked Witch of the West in Oz the Great and Powerful. For the most part, the runner-ups were Evanora (portrayed by Rachel Weisz) and Theodora (played by Mila Kunis), but even Glinda was thrown into the mix to persuade viewers to believe that maybe she would turn evil.
Well, the mystery was solved even before Oz the Great and Powerful came out, as a mug (yes, a mug!) was sold in stores with what was clearly Mila Kunis’ face in full Wicked Witch of the West form. There was little doubt that Theodora would become the evil green witch by the end of the film.
The entire point of the Batman: Mask of the Phantasm animated film was the investigation of who was behind the mask of the Phantasm. It didn’t help when a Phantasm action figure hit the toy stores, revealing the villain without a mask and showing a face that looked just like Andrea Beaumont’s.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm led Batman and viewers to believe that Phantasm was Carl Beaumont, Andrea’s father. Since she was Bruce Wayne’s childhood sweetheart, the hero was conflicted between his affection for her and his determination to defeat her villainous dad. The movie’s big reveal was meant to be that Andrea – and not her father, who had been dead for years – was Phantasm, but unfortunately the action figure spoiled this major plot-point.
Captain America: Civil War’s opening scene featured Crossbones (played by Frank Grillo) in a heist situation, and then being caught by Black Widow, Falcon, Captain America, and others. While the “Crossbones’ Hazard Heist” Lego set didn’t disclose everything about the film’s opening scene, it did reveal a lot, leaving no doubt as to some of the heroes who would be in the confrontation and what type of materials Crossbones would be stealing.
It was another case of Lego spoiling what could’ve been a surprising fan-favorite scene in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Crossbones was defeated and didn’t go on to become the Civil War main antagonist, which makes his brief cameo even more significant for fans of the character who wanted to be surprised by his storyline in the franchise.
Can you think of any other toys or Legos that spoiled superhero movies? Let us know in the comments!